NTSB Describes Flight ‘Excursions’ In Phenom Crash


The flight data recorder from the Phenom that crashed inMarylandon Monday shows the airplane slowed to 88 knots on approach, with the flaps extended and landing gear down, the NTSB’s Robert Sumwalt said on Tuesday. At that point, the FDR shows the aircraft experienced “large excursions in pitch and in roll.” About two seconds later, the throttles were advanced, and the engines responded. About 20 seconds before the end of the recording, a stall warning call began to sound, and continued until the end. The investigators have found no evidence of problems with the engines, Sumwalt said, or of bird ingestion or a bird strike. Windspeed at the airport was 6 knots. Investigators also recovered the cockpit voice recorder, which recorded all 57 minutes of the flight from Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Three CFIs were operating near the airport at the time of the crash, one in the traffic pattern and two on the ground. Two of these pilots reported seeing the Phenom execute a series of steep pitch and roll excursions. Another pilot, who had reported abundant birds on the airport frequency, later told investigators the flock he saw was on the ground, about a thousand feet down the runway. No birds were reported on the approach path or near the Phenom. Investigators found all “four corners” of the aircraft at the crash site, Sumwalt said — the nose, tail, and both wingtips — indicating that there was no in-flight breakup. The jet hit three houses, with most of the fuselage coming to rest outside the second house. The third house, where three people died, was hit by a wing and caught fire.

The pilot of the jet, who has been identified in news reports as Dr. Michael Rosenberg, 66, of Durham, N.C., held ATP and CFI ratings, with about 4,500 hours logged. He was type-rated in the Phenom and held a current medical. He had previously been in an aircraft accident, in March 2010, while flying a TBM 700. The two passengers were identified Tuesday as David Hartman, 52, of Durham, and Chiji Ogbuka, 31, of Raleigh. The three people on the ground who died were Marie Gemmell, 36, and her sons Cole, 3, and one-month-old Devon.

Video from the NTSB briefing on Tuesday evening: